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Bournemouth Pleasure Gardens & Genealogy 1880's

Hi newbie here,

i'm doing some family tree research and i've uncovered links to the BPG if i can call it that, the Stewarts nursery in Ferndown and possibly the Chine Gardens. I'm busily looking through newspapers and exploring history links but it's proving a bit disappointing.  I thought i could approach it from the gardening side and see if it brings any new clues.

I found my 2x Great Grandfather Thomas Perry aged 60 on the 1871c at Ferndown, Dorset, with his wife and future daughter in law in the household. His occupation was listed as Propagator / Baptist Preacher.  By chance somebody local to Ferndown noticed this was 'The Stewarts Nursery' with all it's history etc which was interesting.

I then started researching his youngest son Benjamin, and while looking for obituaries in the paper, found an article about his accidental drowning on Bournemouth Beach (24th June 1887 aged 36), complete with inquest.  The article said that he had been employed by Mr Andrews the surveyor to the Bournemouth Improvement Commision, as Foreman of the BPG , some 6 years ago.  He had been working hard on putting up the Golden Jubilee decorations (victoria's, celebrated 20th june 1887 just 4 days before he died).  He left a widow who was an invalid (this being the lady i mentioned in the 1871c at ferndown). 

There are a number of links here:

Benjamin's 1881c address is Boscombe spa rd, beauchamp  and his occupation is nurseryman's assistant.  The 1887 inquest article says he lives at the BPG.  On his burial notes it gives his address as Chine Cottage, Boscombe. I don't know if these addresses have any affiliation to the BPG or the Chine Gardens, i suspect the latter has. The only place i've managed to find called Chine Cottage now is in Derby road, Bournemouth, and it was quoted as being part of an old manor house. 

I found an article that said the lower Boscombe Chine Gardens were leased by the Bournemouth commission, who later in 1884 leased the higher grounds for the work on the pavilion and tennis lawns.

So you had major developments at both the Pleasure Gardens and the Chine Gardens at this time, and the Stewarts Nurseries opened branches at Dean Park and Strouden nr Bournemouth. I need to clarify the dates for that but it is around that time.  Also the plants had to come from somewhere.  Certainly raises the possibility of Thomas and other family members being in Bournemouth with all that work going on.  Benjamin's wife may have worked here also, i don't know if she had a physical handicap or perhaps had an accident at some stage.  It is interesting that his wife Bethia is described as an invalid.  Benjamin himself was invalided out of the army in india in 1876, developing hepatitis. They married on his return. I expect the 'spa' aspect and perhaps Invalid's walk had a great deal of attraction for both of them.

I did find another article saying some of the commissioners had complained about the costs of levelling the Pleasure Grounds, which according to the surveyor, had been carried out by the grounds permanent staff.

I was really hopeful that i would be able to find some photos of the jubilee, particularly if of the Pleasure Gardens with decorations but i haven't found much info on that front. I'll have to make a trip to bournemouth library and see what they've got.

If you can think of anything that might be relevant, please say as it might be useful.  I thought i would ask as local knowledge takes some beating. 


regards neil








  • donutsmrsdonutsmrs Posts: 479

    That is very interesting reading. Bournemouth has an awful lot of history, have you tried contacting Bournemouth Bourgh council  they may be able to help.

    Have a look at this link as it mentions an 1890s lodge in Boscombe Chine Gardens and you can contact them to find out more. My father did walk about tours in Bournemouth back in the late 70s and he new such a lot about Bournemouth, and Chine cottage rings a bell, I am sure he had mentioned this. Unfortunately he is no longer with us but I will have a look through his papers etc on Bournemouth to see if I can find out anything for you. Good Luck.

  • FloBearFloBear Posts: 2,281

    Lovelylowlife, have you contacted Stewarts directly? They are very proud of their history and of being among the first garden centres in existence. Also Bournemouth may have a history society, Ferndown certainly does, and they may may be able to help.

  • hi, sorry i didn't know i had any replies as it didn't notify me.

    yes i have contacted Stewarts, i asked a basic question about who to direct my query to and it's been passed to the boss.  Their website says they gave all their historical docs to Dorset Record office.  It would be really useful to know when the Dean park and Strouden Nurseries opened near Bournemouth.  As i had hoped i have found a reference to Thomas living in Bournemouth, it was on his Probate record and it's the first written link i have for him there.  

    Yes Bournemouth council didn't exist at the time, it was formed in 1890 so i'll have to rummage at the Bournemouth library or have a look at the Bournemouth Improvement Commision records at Kew. 

    In a newspaper article for Hampshire's 1887 Jubilee celebrations it mentioned the company 'Pain & Sons' did the electric lighting for the Pleasure gardens but sadly they don't have any records of the event.

    I've also contacted Bournemouth's memorial bench scheme to see when they started Memorials, and i want to find out about the dedications for the plants at the Pleasure Gardens.  I know they have some for important people at the time, but you'd like to think they would do something for someone who had passed in their employment.

    That's about where i am now.  image


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